Paths of Glory (1957) Stanley Kubrick

Summary: During the First World War, the French military orders a court-martial accusing soldiers of cowardice after an attack on an enemy position fails. Spoilers It is a truism in the Army that shit rolls downhill, and in Paths of Glory Stanley Kubrick doesn’t argue with it; he just presents it for the nonsense it…

12 Angry Men (1957) – Sidney Lumet (Niall McArdle)

Summary: A jury deliberates in a murder trial of a teenager accused of killing his father. Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men is a remarkable piece of cinema in spite of itself. It’s a sudsy liberal social drama and it telegraphs its emotions, and it’s talky as hell, but it’s a riveting 90 minutes, all the…

Shadows (1959) – Living in the Shadows, by Darrell Ron Tuffs

The first film to be directed by John Cassavetes, Shadows, was perhaps the start of what we now know as American independent cinema. Shadows was groundbreaking at the time of its release, although not particularly financially successful, it was critically acclaimed, despite being made for less than the average television programme. Filmed during the same…

Roman Holiday (1953) – William Wyler (Niall McArdle)

Cyd Charisse. Marilyn Monroe. Jane Russell. Donna Reed. Deborah Kerr. Hollywod had an array of beautiful women on-screen in 1953, each in their own way wordly and sexy. But it was a different, schoolgirlish beauty that captivated the world that year, when an elfin, dark-haired Audrey Hepburn spent the day in Rome in the company…

Imitation of Life (1959) – Douglas Sirk (Sight & Sound Critic Poll Series)

Top 100 position – Joint 93rd Short Plot Summary: Aspiring actress Lora Meredith meets Annie Johnson a homeless black woman at Coney Island and soon they share a tiny apartment. Each woman has an intolerable daughter, though Annie’s little girl Sarah Jane, is by far the worse. Neurotic and obnoxious, Sarah Jane doesn’t like being…

Madame de… (1953) Max Ophüls (Sight & Sound Critic Poll Series)

Top 100 position – Joint 93rd Short Plot Summary: In France of the late 19th century, the wife of a wealthy general, the Countess Louise, sells the earrings her husband gave her on their wedding day to pay off debts; she claims to have lost them. Her husband quickly learns of the deceit, which is…